Mace Francis is establishing himself as predominant figure and advocate for original Australian big band music. He moved to Perth, from Victoria, in 2000 to study jazz composition and arranging under Graham Lyall and in 2004 graduated from the WA Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) with First Class Honours, and then in 2015 with a PhD of which he was awarded the Faculty Research Medal. Since 2004, Mace’s focus on composition has awarded him the 2004 APRA Professional Development Award, the international Italian composition prize “Scrivere in Jazz”, a finalist in the 2010 Freedman Jazz Fellowship, nomination for an Australian Bell Award (2013 & 2016) and was the 2015 winner of the APRA AMCOS Art Music Award: Jazz Work of the Year.
MFO have recorded 6 CDs since forming in 2005, toured nationally four times (2006, 2008, 2010 & 2011) and performed with international artists Jim Pugh (USA), Jon Gordon (NY), John Hollenbeck (NY), Satoko Fujii (JAP), Theo Bleckmann (NY) and Ed Partyka (Austria).
In 2008 Mace was appointed lecturer in Arranging and Composition at WAAPA as well as Artistic Director of the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra (WAYJO) where he has implemented emerging composer commissions and guest artist programs. Since his appointment, WAYJO has performed with Fred Wesley (USA), Darcy James Argue (USA), Allen Vizzutti (USA), Kristin Berardi (NSW), David Theak (NSW), Franck Tortillier (France), Jim McNeely (USA), Ed Partyka (Austria), Darcy James Argue (USA), Ed Neumeister (USA) Mike Stewart (SA), Michelle Nichole (VIC), Mat Jodrell (NY) and Ross Irwin (VIC)